Iceland Airwaves ’13 – Friday

As I was leaving our apartment I strike up a conversation with the lovely tattooed lady behind the front desk. The usual things really: how is Airwaves, how are you finding Iceland, are the queues for the venues very long? She has a master’s degree in Tourism and is very curious about the people staying in her business and how they’re finding the festival (mostly because she’s not going this year and is fairly envious of my press pass).
We Are Wolves

mij=Door: Andrew. Foto’s: Dennis, Reinier
I make my way downtown to find where my photographer has hidden himself away. After walking around the entire block a couple of times, I randomly walk down an alleyway. And of course find it immediately. Derp! I could have walked in through the bar as well, but hey, such is life. If you don’t try random stuff you’ll never have an adventure. Where I am now is something called Kvosin Hotel…more precisely, I am behind the hotel at some sort of square where somebody set up a party tent. More importantly, a few dozen patio heaters and also a bar and some Chinese lanterns for added win.
Carmen Villain
Contrary to the normally perfect scheduling of both on- and off-venue gigs, today is different. I have no idea who it is I’m listening to. They sound dreamy, kind of the same way a band like Beach House would. Likewise depressing like…me during mornings before I’ve had any coffee. Although in my mind, a band such as this should be playing in a dark painted rock’n roll cave surrounded by lots of smoke and perhaps a few lasers. Not the brightly lit party tent full of happy beer drinking Airwaves-visitors (the mismatch only clashes a little, really). The audience doesn’t share these thoughts (definitely a good thing) and applauds the softly spoken Carmen Hillestad, who goes by the name Carmen Villain when making music. An edgy young lady, who I would gladly have spent time talking to given what a colleague from another website had to say about her.
After a delicious meal, prepared by our slaves travel-mates, I basically sit around chilling out and trying to digest about three kilos of potatoes and two hamburgers (I’m actually doing some homework for school; yes ladies I am hard-core!). However, all of us are beginning to wear out a little as late nights and lots of booze and bands begin taking their toll. Eating yummy Icelandic candies and drinking coffee till 11pm peps me up enough to brave the cold walk back to Harpa, which is literally and figuratively shining during the evenings. Specifically, for Fucked Up, another Canadian band – of which I’ve seen many this Airwaves, relatively speaking. Harpa is absolutely packed tonight: while queuing up for the band I find myself squeezed in with two girls from the UK.
If I know what kind of band will be playing? Why yes, I do actually. Would they enjoy it? I really don’t know: that depends! On what? Do you enjoy large sweaty men hugging you? She takes a half-step away from me. Lead singer Damian Abraham also hugs other large sweaty men I quickly add. Her interest is piqued. What kind of large are we talking about? Too subjective I say; impossible to answer. Debating semantics, we walk into the hall. Chaos, hilarity and hugging commence. I lose sight of the girls in the mosh pit, but that’s because I seem to be busy registering all the contrasts within this gig: the static band on the stage, unmoving, but playing as if their lives depend on it. The large and sweaty man seemingly trying to escape from them. The maelstrom of activity in front of the stage. The massively serious emotional payload the songs carry. The frantic work of Harpa stagehands ensuring that Damian can sing no matter what craziness he comes up with. It all comes together with perfect execution.
No Northern Lights tonight 🙁

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